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Locals to air concerns over Vélo North closed road sportive at public meeting tonight

Representatives of event organisers and Durham County Council will be present this evening

Residents and business owners in County Durham will this evening quiz county council officials and the organisers of September’s Vélo North closed road sportive amid concerns about the impact the event will have on them.

The public meeting, hosted by Upper Teesdale Agricultural Support Services (UTASS), was arranged after the issue was raised at a meeting of Middleton-in-Teesdale and Newbiggin Parish Council earlier this month.

> Public meeting demanded over Vélo North closed road sportive

Chronicle Live reports that it will be held at the UTASS office in Middleton-in-Teesdale at 7pm this evening.

Councillor Bob Danby, who is also a project manager at UTASS, proposed the meeting after being approached by people living in rural communities who were concerned that road closures associated with the event, which is expected to attract 15,000 cyclists, would leave them cut off in their homes.

He said: "The meeting is to let people ask questions about what effect Vélo North will have on their life on that day and reach a compromise to alleviate any anxiety or anger or problems on the day."

"We want to try and bring some accord. Hopefully if there are any problems the people from Vélo North will listen and bring forward some agreement," he added.

The meeting will be attended by representatives of Durham County Council and Vélo North organisers CSM Sport & Entertainment.

Nigel Dodds, strategic manager for leisure at Durham County Council, commented: "We welcome feedback from residents and businesses and are working to ensure support is available to anyone on the route who requires it.

"Anyone who is concerned about access during the event should get in touch with the event organisers."

Closed road sportives, including Vélo North’s sister events, Vélo Birmingham & Midlands and Vélo South, tend to attract small but vociferous local opposition that sometimes results in attempts being made to sabotage events, for example by sprinkling tacks on the road.

However, they also receive strong support in the communities they pass through, which often take on a festival atmosphere as people turn out to enjoy the event and cheer on riders.

Simon joined as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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